French report into Roma teen's deportation says father was abusive
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A probe ordered by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls into the high-profile deportation of a 15-year-old Roma girl and her family says they showed little interest in integrating into French society and that the father was abusive.
The Dibrani family at the centre of a controversial deportation case showed “no real interest in integrating into French society”, according to a 24-page Interior Ministry report published Saturday into the case that has sparked street protests and made international headlines.
The report was the result of an investigation ordered by Interior Minister Manuel Valls, after he came under fire over revelations that the 15-year-old daughter, Leonarda Dibrani, was detained by police while on a school trip on October 9 before being deported with her mother and siblings to Kosovo.
The report said that the detention of Leonarda was done according to the law, but also highlighted why the family of Roma gypsy origin was denied permission to stay in France, where they had been living since 2009.
The document painted an especially unflattering picture of the father, claiming he repeatedly turned down job offers in France, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, and had used physical violence against Leonarda and her older sister.
It also noted that the family made no effort with the upkeep of the temporary housing they were given while waiting for their asylum request to be processed, and that the children were often absent from school.
However, the report also cited one of Leonarda’s school teachers as saying Leonarda “wanted to integrate” into French society and had shown signs of “progress”.
Priority to reunite family
Defending the police officers who detained Leonarda during a school outing, the report said the incident was spurred by volunteers who were helping her family apply for permanent residency in France, and who insisted that the priority was to keep the family together.
It explained that the father had already been deported to Kosovo on October 8, and that as many as 10 police officers were deployed to ensure the family’s deportation process was swift so that they could be reunited.
The report did state that the officers had shown poor judgement in detaining Leonarda during a school trip.
The report will now be placed under the microscope in France, where Leonarda’s deportation is a cause célèbre sparking protests and near blanket media coverage.